Born in Terre Haute, Indiana???

On July 11, 1874, Wilhelm Friedrich Moeckel was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. I don’t get it. Why in the world would this baby be born in Terre Haute, Indiana? Both of William’s parents were raised in Perry County…even died in Perry County. He had brothers who were said to be born in St. Louis, and even they ended up back in Perry County and are buried there. Even William was confirmed in Perry County. But why was William born in Terre Haute? Don’t expect a complete answer. Even at the end of this post, I will admit that I don’t know exactly why.

Wilhelm’s parents were Friedrich and Anna (Popp) Moeckel, who were both found in the 1860 census as children living in Perry County. Friedrich is still found living in the Brazeau Township in the 1870 census. He was living in the Weinhold household and working in the Weinhold’s flour mill in Frohna.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

In the case of Anna Popp, her father had died in the 1860’s, and her mother had married Heinrich Henn in 1865. When the 1870 census was taken, Anna is found living in the Brazeau Township at the age of 18, but she was mistakenly called Anna Henn.

1870 census – Brazeau Township, MO

However, in 1873, Friedrich Moeckel and Anna Popp were married in…(drum roll)…Terre Haute, Indiana. We can view a transcription of this Indiana marriage record.

Moeckel/Popp – Indiana marriage record

So, I suppose we have an explanation for why William Moeckel was born in Terre Haute, but now we don’t know why his parents were married in Terre Haute.

By the time of the 1880 census, this family had moved to St. Louis, where William’s father worked in a grocery store. William was 5 years old. I did not display the column, but this entry says William was born in Missouri. That was not the case.

1880 census – St. Louis, MO

When William was confirmed in 1889, that event took place at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. His confirmation record is one of the places where William’s birth in Terre Haute is documented.

William Moeckel confirmation record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

Now, we need to look at the life of William’s future wife, Anna Susanna Bertha Burfeind. Anna was born on August 26, 1876, the daughter of Herman and Elisabeth (Schuessler) Burfeind. Anna was baptized at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. Her baptism record from that congregation’s books is displayed below.

Anna Burfeind baptism record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We find Anna Burfeind in the 1880 census living in the Brazeau Township. She was 4 years old, and her father was a farmer.

1880 census – Brazeau Township, MO

William Moeckel married Anna Burfeind on June 4, 1899 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna. The church record for that wedding is shown here.

Moeckel/Burfeind marriage record – Concordia, Frohna, MO

We can also view this couple’s marriage license.

Moeckel/Burfeind marriage license

The German Family Tree lists 9 children born to this couple. The first child, born in 1900, was baptized at Concordia, Frohna, but the rest of the children were baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Crosstown. We find this young couple in the 1900 census with their first child. William is called a salesman, and it says he was born in Indiana. Right below their household, you will find that of William’s mother. His father had died in 1881.

1900 census – Brazeau Township, MO

Next, we find the Moeckel household in the 1910 census. This time we find them living in the Salem Township, and William is the manager of a general store. There were 5 children in the family.

1910 census – Salem Township, MO

William Moeckel had his World War I draft registration completed when required. It stated that he was living in Crosstown.

William Moeckel – WWI draft registration

I have enlarged the portion of this form that gives William’s occupation. It states that he ran a post office and was manager of the F.E. Goehring Mercantile in Crosstown.

On this ad for the Goehring businesses in Perry County, we see that one of them is called The Model, which was located in Crosstown.

Goehring Family Stores ad

The 1920 census shows the following entry for the Moeckel family. Eight children are listed. William is called a merchant.

1920 census – Salem Township, MO

William and Anna were in their 50’s when the 1930 census was taken. William is called a postmaster in this entry.

1930 census – Salem Township, MO

The document below shows a list of postmasters for Crosstown over the years. It looks like William served as postmaster from 1910 until 1935.

Crosstown postmasters list

Next, we find the Moeckel’s in the 1940 census. This time, William was described as a farm laborer.

1940 census – Salem Township, MO

I did a search for “Moeckel Store” in the newspaper archives from the Perry County Republican and found this ad that was published in 1946.

Moeckel Store ad

I find it interesting that the ad above states they were serving “lunch” at 5 p.m.

William Moeckel died in 1960 at the age of 86. His death certificate is another form that documents the fact that he was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. It also lists William as a merchant for a general store. When he died, it says he was living in Perryville.

William Moeckel death certificate

Anna Moeckel died in 1962 at the age of 85. We can also view her death certificate.

Anna Moeckel death certificate

William and Anna Moeckel are buried together in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Crosstown.

William and Anna Moeckel gravestone – Zion, Crosstown, MO

Well, I found a document indicating why William was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but I still have no clue why two young former residents of Perry County ended up there for their wedding in 1873. Perhaps someone familiar with this family can answer that question someday.


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